Thursday, March 2, 2006


Still on the subject of biking...

This past Tuesday, I tagged along on the regular TNS ride run by the DT/Spearman/Stoner crew. This week promised a larger group, and a group of really strong riders. That should have been my first warning sign.

We met at the usual spot in Arlington, headed east to DC and (as far as I knew) a nice bar with heat and beer and pizza in Georgetown. To my dismay, we rode right past the bar, and then down to the K street underground. We met a couple of other guys there, then started peadling out on a path I'd never even seen before (evidently the "Capital Crescent Trail"). I asked one of the other riders what the plan was, since we were now pedaling away from the beery salvation of the bar. He said he thought the ride was going to head up to Bethesda, then over through Chevy Chase, pick up Rock Creek Parkway, and pedal back down into Georgetown, ending at the bar we'd first discussed. I gave him the ol' "hahaha that's a good one ohshityourenotkiddingaboutridingallthef*waytobethesdaand
backareyou" look. Since it was dark, thankfully, he missed the horrified look on my face. I told him nothing personal, but if I all of a sudden wasn't around anymore, it simply meant that I turned my ass around and pedaled for home. I could manage the Arlington to Georgetown ride without too much trouble. An Arlington-to-Georgetown-to-Bethesda-to-Chevy Chase-to-Rock Creek Park-to-Georgetown-eventually-back-to-Arlington ride might be a bit beyond my endurance levels right now.

So the ride headed north. The stronger riders tearing-ass into the lead. DT being kind enough to hang back and keep me company. He and I pedaled steadliy onward, me never sure where I was gonna run outta gas and turn around.

Despite the trail feeling like a neverending mountain climb all the way out of DC (mainly due to the optical illusion created by me forgetting my perscription glasses, an ever so slightly uphill path, and a the circle-of-lighted-salvation-in-the-darkness provided by my helmet light, I felt surprisingly good with each passing pedal stroke. We managed (well...*I* "managed", there was little question DT would be able to pull off the whole ride) to make it all the way up into Bethesda and the halfway point, where the rest of the riders were waiting for us.

Once we regrouped, a few photos were snapped and we headed out on our return journey.

Thankfully, the road ride down Rock Creek Parkway is mostly downhill heading back to G'town. And not too heavy with traffic. We would have made great time, had there not been 3 flats in rapid succession, costing us over an hour of stand-around-in-the-cold -and-watch-other-guys-fix-flats time. Two flats were on "Spearman's Own Experimental Tire and Wheel Set", which proved a bitch to fix. After a fair amount of fighting with the hardware, he got rolling well enough to get us all on the road again. A few short miles later, we finally pull into the bar for well deserved beers and warmness and pizza.

Beers flowed. Pizzas arrived. Smack-talk ensued. After a couple of hours, the crowd begins to disperse as riders headed for home in waves. The last group to go was Spearman, DT and me. After all the pedaling done so far, we still have to ride back out to Arlington...5 or 6 miles distant. And by this point, my headlight is long dead.

The ride home is uneventful (thankfully). Rides home usually seem to pass pretty quickly for me. One of the benefits of a few beers at the midpoint, I guess. There's just a very fine line between "uneventful, quick ride home" and "shitfaced, powersliding into home plate on a bike". I'm still learning where that line is.

So, when all was said and done, we rode somewhere between 36 and 38.x miles. Probably my longest road ride since doing the 63 mile "Tour de Cure" a few years back. I was happy that my legs and lungs held up as well as they did. The next day, I felt pretty good, too. Guess there's hope for me and this "biking" thing yet.

Slack. Biking. Probe.

I've actually been doing some cool stuff lately, but I've just been too damn lazy to write about it. So I'll try to condense into a single catch-up post...

Last weekend I went camping/biking with a bunch of friends I rarely see anymore. We hit Green Ridge State Forest in MD. The camping was chilly, and the biking kicked my ass; but it was a great weekend none the less.

Green Ridge has a 12 mile (mostly) singletrak bike loop with a few "easy out" escapes for thos who burn out before completing the full loop. I don't know how much climbing there is in total, but it's a hell of a lot more than I'm used to at Wakefield. A couple of friends and I decided to do a short night ride after we arrived on Friday. Temps were just about 19 degrees. The other two guys are in far better riding shape than I, and were nice enough to go easy on me. We did about 6 miles total, including about 2 miles on fireroads to and from the trailhead.

On Saturday, try as I might, my friends wouldn't let me bag out of the longer planned ride. I'm glad they didn't. We added one more rider (a guy recovering from a torn/dislocated/busted-up shoulder) to our group. With temps in the 50s, it was a perfect day for riding. Despite feeling like the shorter ride the night before nearly killed me, I felt surprisingly good once on the trail in the warmth and sunlight. Busted-shoulder-guy and I managed 9-10 miles, including about 3 on fireroads. The two other guys did the full loop.

Sunday, we woke up to snow falling. Most folks decided to break camp early and head for home. I packed all my junk into the truck (where it still sits, for the record), hopped in line with a caravan of vehicles heading east, and drove for home.

I'll end Part One here. Look for Part Two, comig soon to a theater near you.